Posted by: Didapper PJ7 MAR 2012
Abuse of apostrophes seems to be widespread. They are wrongly inserted into plurals (“apple’s and pear’s”), omitted from possessive forms of nouns (“Didappers page”), left out of contractions (“thats right”) and misplaced in the possessive forms of irregular plural nouns (“childrens’ zoo”).
Even educated people may have trouble with the possessive adjective or pronoun “its”, which should have no apostrophe. An easy way to remember this is that you would not put an apostrophe in “his” or “hers” and you similarly do not need one in “its” when it’s used as a possessive. However, you do need one when “it’s” is a contraction of “it is”.
Apostrophe abuse generally saddens me, but a recent example made me smile. Outside an old church was a poster announcing a lecture entitled “Your church: it’s history”. Anyone turning up for a talk on the demise of Christianity may have been surprised to hear instead an account of the past life of the ancient building.